WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
By Senator Rev. Rubén Díaz
District 32 Bronx County, New York
You should know that there is an article titled EXPERTS SAY STRINGER’S REJECTION OF HOMELESS SHELTER CONTRACTS IS ‘ILLEGAL’ written by Jeff Stein from New York NonProfit that appeared in the October 6, 2015 edition of “City and State.” Mr. Stein wrote about how “the current standoff between Bill de Blasio and Scott Stringer over the registration of homeless shelter contracts is far from shocking.”
As a New York State Senator here in the South Bronx, and as the President of the New York Hispanic Clergy Organization, I must say that it is deplorable for families and children to languish in poverty and homelessness while New York City's Comptroller - who lives in a penthouse - delays and denies payments for New York City homeless shelter contracts.
I must also say that it is disreputable for Mr. Stringer to bolster his own public stature by refusing to sign contracts for homeless shelters while people are suffering, and organizations that rely upon City funding to serve the homeless are not even able to pay their bills.
You should already know that my ministers and I work hard to support the efforts of the multitude of organizations that serve homeless New Yorkers. We know that due to circumstances that are often outside of our control, any one of us could become homeless overnight. Most of us know that it is our duty and obligation to take care of each other, and when someone or something becomes an obstruction, we have a responsibility to shine a light on that person and demand for him or her to be held accountable.
It is important to know that under the New York City Charter, the Comptroller’s authority mandates the registration of contracts unless: (1) there is not enough funding for the contract to be paid; (2) if the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services has not certified the contract; or (3) if there is reason to suspect corruption.
According to New York University School of Law Professor Roderick Hills: “Given that none of the homeless shelter contracts have been rejected on those grounds … For the comptroller to slow down or stop the mayor’s contracting policy is frankly illegal.”
We all know about Mr. Stringer’s personal ambition to become the Mayor of New York City; it’s no secret. We also know that Mr. Stringer has been extremely generous handing out lawsuit settlement checks for high profile cases against New York City, and has not missed any opportunity to glow in the media for each of our tax dollars he has doled out.
Mr. Stringer's refusal to sign contracts that the Mayor's office has approved shows that he is intentionally hurting the most needy, and making community organizations that deal with the homeless endure all kinds of problems. Many of the organizations that are truly there for the homeless are being forced to borrow money from banks to pay their bills without knowing if Scott Stringer will ever sign their contract.
My dear reader, the homeless are suffering. And the organizations that are fighting for the needy are paying the consequences because of Mr. Stringer's vicious refusal to sign their contracts.
Mr. Stringer should be trying to help the organizations that serve the homeless to work out technicalities and assist with any necessary paperwork - instead, he is beating them down and casting them aside.
I am calling on New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer to stop hurting the needy and to sign the contracts already approved by the Mayor to allow homeless service organizations to pay their bills and fulfill their obligations to serve the needy.
I am Senator Reverend Rubén Díaz and this is what you should know.